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Preparing for an emergency

Date updated: 20/07/2023

Planning from an emergency starts at home

Organise a plan of action

Identify places where your family can reunite in an emergency. Libraries, community centres or places of worship are good meeting points.

Familiarise yourself with your neighbourhood and regularly practice all possible exit routes from your home.

Consider everyone's needs, especially vulnerable members of your family or your neighbours: the elderly, people with disabilities and non-English speakers.

Familiarise yourself with emergency plans for your work-place, schools or nursery and other relevant institutions.

Take the time to develop an emergency plan for your household.
  • Know where and how to turn off water, gas and electricity supplies in your home. Consider that elderly or vulnerable neighbours might need your help.
  • Keep useful emergency contacts, Estate Office details and personal/medical information handy.
  • If you have pet, ensure you add any necessary arrangements in your plan.
  • Ensure you can easily tune in to your local radio station.

All family members should have a copy of your emergency plan.

Many types of severe weather can have affect our environment. It is always worth planning ahead and thinking about the preparations that you, your family and your community could make in case of storms, heavy snow, heat waves and drought.

Cold temperatures

Heat waves

Hot weather can cause heat exhaustion in people and animals. Also, bacteria on food and rubbish develop more quickly in the heat. Find out how to stay safe around the home in hot weather, including keeping cool and taking extra care with food and waste.

Heatwave: be prepared is good source of information, from NHS Choices, on how to deal with extremely hot weather.

This is an infectious and common viral illness spread by coughs and sneezes and can be quite severe in certain people, such as

  • anyone over the age of 65
  • pregnant women
  • children and adults with an underlying health condition (particularly long-term heart or respiratory disease) or with weakened immune systems

If you are in any of these risk groups it is recommended you have the flu jab every year. Find out more about flu vaccines on NHS Choices.

The emergency services may ask you to evacuate your home or business because it is not safe for you to remain there or as a precautionary measure. As you may not get any notice of this evacuation, it's worth preparing a grab bag with copies of key documents and important items you may need.

You should also plan where you would go if you were evacuated - for example, if you have friends or family you could stay with. If you have pets, plan how you would look after them if you had to evacuate – emergency accommodation shelters may not be able to take animals other than assistance dogs.